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View Full Version : to sing or not to sing???



liverlipsyyz
10-19-2009, 06:44 AM
hi! i'm at a bit of a cross roads with my uke playing. i've determined that i'm just a horrible singer. i'm thinking about putting a low g string on my uke and just playing uke solos/chord solos and stuff like that rather than tunes i need to sing along with. the problem is:

a) i like to be able to play all kinds of songs, most of which will need to be sung
b) i want to play uke solos/chord solos but i'm afraid to put a low g string on my tenor because i don't want to have to switch it out all the time and i'm worried that i'll lose that "uke" sound (i only have one uke so having two ukes, one with a low g and one with a high g is out of the question).

the reason i think i need to put a low g string on my uke is that i have a book called 50 easy uke chord solos which requires a low g string. and i really want to play some of that stuff.

any advice? should i just put up with my horrible singing, afraid to ever play in public or in front of anyone else?

thanks!
liver

Big_e
10-19-2009, 06:54 AM
I'll be watching this thread to see what you discover with the Low G. Other people have asked about putting a Low G on sopranos.
I've practiced guitar for a while and it carries my voice very well and I can't sing either. The ukulele not so much, I have to sing more gently to keep up with the uke, it seems.
Of course you could always use your built-in mouth trumpet to accompany yourself like Victoria Vox does.:D I love the way she does that.
Ernest

mailman
10-19-2009, 07:00 AM
Oh, please!! Don't sing! Not that! Not again! ;)

Seriously, liver, I think the best possible solution to your problem is a second ukulele. It need not be expensive, and would allow you to sing along with a high G uke or play your low G solos. Second best would be to find a partner with a good singing voice to play with.... Well, you know what I mean....

HoldinCoffee
10-19-2009, 07:05 AM
My advice is to consider the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

existence
10-19-2009, 07:15 AM
I know what you mean; singing well isn't easy, especially in front of people. I think one thing that helped me was realizing that I'm not going to be able to sing every song....some are just not in my range. Also, I think some folks try too hard to sound like the original artist when they sing. I feel that it's better to do a song your way...it's more individual, and it can make a tough tune easier to pull off. Don't be afraid to change the melody a little if it brings the song into your range.

One thing that helped me with singing confidence was listening to fellas like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. Neither of them had what would normally be considered a great singing voice, but they made it work for them. One thing both of them did a lot was to use a sort of sing-songy talking. I think a big part of it is working within your limitations...

seeso
10-19-2009, 07:18 AM
My advice is to consider the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Quoted for truth.

GX9901
10-19-2009, 07:19 AM
I don't think you need low-g to play solos and instrumentals. I play nothing but instrumentals and all of my ukes are strung re-entrant. I tried stringing a couple of ukes with low-g but I end up never touching them so switched them back to re-entrant. I guess some day I'll try to get into low-g a little bit, but so far it has not stuck for me.

HoldinCoffee
10-19-2009, 07:26 AM
I don't think you need low-g to play solos and instrumentals...

GX is absolutely correct, low g is certainly not a requirement to do solos and/or instrumentals. Certain arrangements were written for low g, but there are some great arrangements for reentrant. Reentrant tuning loses out a bit in range, but with your high strings at the top and bottom, reentrant gives you those high notes at the beginning and the end of the chord. So... umm, that's all I wanted to say.

Citrus
10-19-2009, 08:05 AM
do both! some of my favorite ukers play killer licks and sing *ahem seeso*

Tsani
10-19-2009, 08:13 AM
Some of the best ukulele instrumentalists play the high-G traditional soprano, John King (RIP), Rob MacKillop, Herb Ohta, etc. The high-G is not a limitation, it is what makes the ukulele distinctive.

Skrik
10-19-2009, 08:15 AM
I have only one word in reply:
SING!

Tsani
10-19-2009, 08:21 AM
I agree with Skrik. You should sing. Bob Dylan sings. Leon Russell sings. If they can sing, by golly you can sing too.

My problem is the reverse. I can play. I can sing. I can't sing and play. When I sing, whatever rhythm I had for playing gets whacked. My fingers go all over the place. I can't seem to do but one thing at a time right.

I think my solution is going to be multi-track. Record a track of instrumental and then sing over it.

mrplatypus70
10-19-2009, 08:27 AM
I have a horrible singing voice, but I still sing. I also really like playing the solo chord melody stuff so by all means do both! Do not let the fact that you don't like your singing stop you from trying. I went years just playing and not singing when I stared playing guitar and I still prefer to accompany someone who can sing to doing it myself. But when I started to sing myself I discovered I enjoy it, and if it is horrible and no one wants to listen so what? I sing in a large group of people in the ukulele club I am in but I do not think I would ever have the courage to sing live in front of people by myself, but I do post videos on YouTube with singing because I don't have to see the people who may be brave enough to watch it!

ukecantdothat
10-19-2009, 08:36 AM
I agree with Skrik. You should sing. Bob Dylan sings. Leon Russell sings. If they can sing, by golly you can sing too.

My problem is the reverse. I can play. I can sing. I can't sing and play. When I sing, whatever rhythm I had for playing gets whacked. My fingers go all over the place. I can't seem to do but one thing at a time right.

I think my solution is going to be multi-track. Record a track of instrumental and then sing over it.
Tsani hit the nail on the head! The world is FULL of rotten singers who make it work, so let 'er rip. Just keep that "I meant to do that" vibe in there and they won't notice a thing. As far as that low-G, it can come in handy sometimes, but I do all my solos standard tuning. Especially with 4-finger rolls, there are so many things you can do to incorporate the high-G for interesting effects. And take those split string harmos from the g/E to the C/A. So convenient and all in the same neighborhood!

freedive135
10-19-2009, 08:56 AM
Why do you have to sing in the first place????

When I started taking lessons last year the instructor told everyone in the class to sing along, the next lesson he asked me and another guy not to sing!!!!

Just cuz some folks sing (some great and some not so) doesn't mean we all have too is all I'm sayin. Shoot alot of great music doesn't even have words.

I let my uke do the singin for me....

ukecantdothat
10-19-2009, 09:12 AM
Why do you have to sing in the first place????

When I started taking lessons last year the instructor told everyone in the class to sing along, the next lesson he asked me and another guy not to sing!!!!

Just cuz some folks sing (some great and some not so) doesn't mean we all have too is all I'm sayin. Shoot alot of great music doesn't even have words.

I let my uke do the singin for me....
That's a good point, too. I play in a duo with steel drum and uke, and 75% of our stuff is instrumental. All I do is add harmonies to vocals because so much of what I do is syncopated, and it's hard for me to split that left brain / right brain thing. That's why I'm so bad at piano. If my left hand (right brain controlled) gets a bass line going , my right hand (left brain) gets all spastic. So I can only play chords on piano because there's common purpose with the hands!

Ukuleleblues
10-19-2009, 09:21 AM
Believe it or not you will get better the more you sing. Go to the library and chack out singing for dummys or idiots, they have some decent easy tips. You don't want to leave this world full of regrets. Go sing, if "they" don't like it so what, its the only way you will improve and you will improve..

brickerenator
10-19-2009, 09:22 AM
Believe it or not you will get better the more you sing. Go to the library and chack out singing for dummys or idiots, they have some decent easy tips. You don't want to leave this world full of regrets. Go sing, if "they" don't like it so what, its the only way you will improve and you will improve..

What he said

also find some "no experience required" chorale groups that meet in your area.

There are people as enthusiastic about singing as some of us are about our ukes.

jvann
10-19-2009, 09:51 AM
I don't think singing is something you "have" to do unless you plan on making a living doing it. The question is, do you feel like singing? I read an article about the roosters in Kauai and apparently the crowing is their way of singing. I never knew this. I thought they were, well, crowing. On my vacation there I found it to be cool at first, then annoying, then I didn't hear it anymore. Funny though, the roosters kept crowing the whole time and didn't care about what I thought. I think singing is one of those things that you just feel like doing. Some people happen to have a gift for it and some think they have a gift for it (the auditions on American Idol come to mind) and some people aren't great at it, but want to use that instrument anyway. You have a voice, it's unique, and you should feel okay using it if that's what you want. If you want to express yourself through the strings, that's fine too. The sound is just a reflection of the music inside of you.

bunnyflower
10-19-2009, 10:01 AM
My advice is to consider the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

:agree: Yessss!

But, I think you should do what makes you happy. If you like singing, then by golly, do it! And if you don't, then don't. Playing beautiful ukulele is joy in itself.

I like this song as a philosophy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDq36YD1ESM

NatalieLin6
10-19-2009, 10:03 AM
I agree with Mr. Plat, I never think I sing good enough, but I still do because I love doing it. I started singing when I was very young singing along with the Disney movies. Sometimes I get nervous before doing a video but most of the time I am fine. As far as singing in front of people, forget it. I guess I feel like if they say I suck in a comment, I can just delete it :D but if they can tell me I suck in real time, I can't handle it. So, I just do what I enjoy, and if it comes to singing live, I need lots of liquid courage. So if you want to sing, then sing your heart out, if not, then sing with your strings. I'm sure you will be great either way. Hope that helps!

buddhuu
10-19-2009, 11:03 AM
Play and sing.

Some of the worst singers in the world are/were some of the best:

Hendrix
Dylan
Tom Waits
Louis Armstrong
Howlin' Wolf

Not a pretty voice in the batch. They don't have good voices.

They have real voices. Great voices.

My singing sucks, but when I'm home on my own I sing. With the band or at the pub session I join in with backing vox. If I ever get up the nerve (and I'm working on it) I'll sing a song or two myself. It ain't going to be pretty, but what the heck?

Sing and play.

And dance too, darn it.


And juggle.

hoosierhiver
10-19-2009, 11:17 AM
Jimmy Martin was fired from his first job in a factory for singing.
He got so mad that he went and had a 45 record made and then came back and threw one on his ex-boss's desk. :D

thejumpingflea
10-19-2009, 11:26 AM
Some of the best ukulele instrumentalists play the high-G traditional soprano, John King (RIP), Rob MacKillop, Herb Ohta, etc. The high-G is not a limitation, it is what makes the ukulele distinctive.

Herb Ohta actually uses a Low G primarily.

Jake Shimabukuro uses re-entrant though.

Dominator
10-19-2009, 11:38 AM
the reason i think i need to put a low g string on my uke is that i have a book called 50 easy uke chord solos which requires a low g string. and i really want to play some of that stuff.

any advice?
thanks!
liver

I believe you are referring to the book by Gerry Long that James Hill endorses. Don't get hung up on the low G thing. Except for the songs that have a decending bass line that needs to get picked out you can play all those songs with high G. Chords are chords and they will sound just fine.

Uncle-Taco
10-19-2009, 02:01 PM
I am quite certain that I am by far the worst singer in this community. I'd prove it, but then it would be a much smaller community. :rolleyes:

I've intended to try the low g thing for a while, but I just don't get around to it. I kind of like reentrant; it's what keeps it "ukulele" for me.

I think you should try low g if you want to try it and then dump it if you don't like it. I also think you should play instrumentals because you like them, not because you don't sing well. I also think you should try one thing that I do: Play sung arrangements and listen to the (good) singing in your head, or play along with YouTube videos or something, because someday, somewhere, someone will sing while you play, and that is special. :)